• Christine Skolnik

Lumina rue: a dream

. . . The “teahouse” wasn’t a restaurant or shop but a kind of library.  There was no one inside but there were signs prominently displayed throughout, in multiple languages, with just one word on them.  Free.  Gratis.  Libre.  I could hardly believe it.  The books looked antique and well-preserved.  What kind of anonymous benefactor would sponsor such a marvelous public resource?  Or was it the case that books, even rare ones, were now almost worthless?  

I unzipped my jacket and began to wander through the aisles.  Before ascending the stairs, however, I circled back to the bookshelves near the entrance. Only a few minutes passed from the time I entered the building until I found a book on Ahuramazda.  I was struck how the book seemed to fall into my hands.  Surely, I wasn’t the only visitor curious about the mysterious word above the door of the building.  Upon reflection I was almost certain the book was a facsimile and that the management secretly replaced it every evening, perhaps more often (posing as visitors, and pulling copies from beneath their coats).  I don’t know why I imagined this should be a clandestine operation, as foreign gods were no longer a menace. 

I wasn’t surprised to learn that Ahuramazda was an ancient Persian God, and a little disappointed by what I read in the first few pages, standing at the bookshelf as I often did when I was a student. Though I appreciated that his name meant Lord of Wisdom, and associated that with both my knowledge of Kabbalah and a minor obsession with Hagia Sophia, here was no great mystery, and no great discovery.  

I was, however, intrigued that the symbol of the god, with a circular element and wings, resembled the Egyptian symbol of the winged sun associated with Ra.  It reminded me of the ancient city of Heliopolis, constructed to honor the sun.  I thought about the obelisks of Heliopolis distributed throughout the capital cities of Europe with a sense of hope, but then recalled that the symbol of the winged sun could be found at the base of the Washington Monument, so close to the seat of a government bent on destroying life through sheer ignorance of the cosmological order.  For a moment I prayed I’d never wake up from this vivid dream.  As is often the case, I felt I was born out of time, but for the first time in my life I desperately wanted to see the future. 

Originally published on Environmental Critique

Image Credit: Lumina Rue by Owen Carson

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